Chlorella: Benefits, Nutrional Value, Uses, Side Effects

What is Chlorella (Chlorella vulgaris)?

Its scientific name is Chlorella Vulgaris and can be bought in natural products stores and in some handling pharmacies. It is a green alga, very popular in Japan, belonging to the group of chlorophytes, rich in chlorophyll. It is a very complete food because it contains proteins of high biological value, 18 amino acids (including eight essential amino acids), vitamins and minerals, enzymes, fiber and chlorophyll. It is also rich in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and particularly vitamin B12.

What is the nutrional value of Chlorella?

Chlorella is rich in protein (amino acids), vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll. A great food for athletes and good source of Vitamins B2 and B12 for vegans.

Chlorella powder is made from chlorella, a unicellular form of algae. Even though it is small in size, it is full of nutritious properties. It is rich in proteins, which result in an excellent source of amino acids, and it contains many valuable vitamins (pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, Vitamin A. C, E, and mainly vitamins B2 and B12) as well important minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, Magnesium, and phosphorus. Chlorella algae grows in clear fresh water and therefore is free from contamination. Once collected, the cell walls are broken to make the proteins, vitamins and minerals more ready available for the organism. Contains 300% more calcium than whole milk.

Supports mental performance. Among other important properties, Chlorella algae also contain high levels of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), a vitamin that supports mental performance. Another important vitamin found in Chlorella algae is folic acid, a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate occurs naturally in food, and folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin. preventing and treating low blood levels of folate, as well as its complications, including anemia and the inability of the bowel to malabsorption of nutrients properly. Folic acid is also used for other conditions commonly associated with folate deficiency, including ulcerative colitis, liver disease, alcoholism.

Pregnant woman or woman that might be pregnant usually take folic acid to prevent miscarriage and neural tube defects of fetus.

Protects against oxidative stress: Chlorella algae contains substantial amounts of important vitamins including vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). This vitamin plays an important role in protecting cells against oxidative stress.

A key component of Chlorella is the Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). CGF is a nucleotide-peptide complex of substances that nourishes and replenishes the body, contributing for a healthy growth and regeneration of biological tissues in the body.

It is important to remember that the benefits of chlorella are only obtained when this algae is consumed as a supplement, since the algae in natura is not digested by the intestine.

Health benefits of Chlorella

  • Chlorella can be found in the form of extract, powder, tablets or capsules, and brings the following health benefits:
  • Slimming and detoxification.
  • Detoxify as it helps remove alcohol and heavy metals (eg: mercury, arsenic, etc.)
  • Improve the skin and hair by being rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C. Help with acne cleansing.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Increase energy levels and readiness.
  • Decrease cholesterol levels because it contains niacin, fibers and antioxidants.
  • It improves the functioning of the liver and brain.
  • Helps in detoxification of kidneys, liver and blood.
  • Normalizes blood glucose
  • Prevent anemia and cramp as it is rich in vitamin B12, iron and vitamin C
  • Control high blood pressure by containing nutrients such as arginine, calcium, potassium and omega-3, which help relax blood vessels.
  • Cancer prevention and to reduce the severity of the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
  • Helps improve digestion and peristaltic bowel movement;
  • Great healing power as it increases tissue growth and regeneration; recommended for athletes and sportsmen. Favor the gain of muscle mass, as it is rich in proteins
  • Helps relieve arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory action, due its Omega 3.

How to detoxify with organic Chlorella?

If you are looking for a natural way to cleanse and detoxify the body, you should add a small amount of this potent powder to your daily diet, being an easy way to get started. Chlorella's biological algae binds with heavy metals, synthetic chemicals and other toxins, making them easy to expel from the body. It can also promote a healthy balance of natural bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which may even help relieve ulcers, constipation and other intestinal problems.

The toxins are absorbed into the fibrous cell walls of Chlorella, which are completely non-digestible. Because of this, the best organic Chlorella products, have mechanically broken cell walls to provide a bioavailability of its proteins, vitamins and minerals and is not genetically modified.
Begin your detox by mixing one or two teaspoons into your daily smoothie, glass of juice or any other food or liquid.

How to lose weight with Chlorella supplement?

To lose weight with this seaweed it is recommended to take 1 or 2 capsules of Chlorella daily, next to a meal. However, its use should be accompanied by a hypocaloric diet and physical exercise practice.

What Chlorella is used for in Traditional Japanese Medicine?

The benefits of Chlorella for which they are used in Traditional Japanese medicine are to stimulate and reinforce the immune system, relief of hypertension and to treat infection.
It is also used as a cancer preventive and to reduce the severity of the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

The use of Chlorella supplementation has been reported even as a cure for chronic bad breath, lowering cholesterol and reducing the occurrence of asthma attacks.

What Traditional Chinese Medicine says about Chlorella?

Chlorella is categorized in Chinese Medicine as a Yin tonic. This means that it is going to be helpful for a person who is overstimulated, being in excess level of energies, with too much stress. It can have a calming effect on the mind and nervous system while nourishing and restoring the body.

In Ayurvedic Indian Medicine, chlorella (as well as butter ghee) is believed to supply ojas., meaning vitality or life force, to people who feel drained energetically, extremely tired or who could use an extra boost to their state of health.

Why Chlorella is a good supplement for Cancer patients?

Cells and functions of the immune system remain at or near normal levels and are less affected when patients are undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy or taking immunosuppressive drugs.
A scientific study was published in 2012, in the Nutrional Journal, to prove that Chlorella have in deed a strong stimulate effect in immune system. studied healthy individuals and their immune system’s response to chlorella supplements.

The results showed that chlorella supports a healthy immune system response that helps "natural killer” cell activity. Which is extremely important to help the immune system for fighting cancer cells.

Contraindications of Chlorella

There are no known contraindications of chlorella, however, pregnant or lactating women or children should consult a dietitian before starting Chlorella.

Be careful if you are allergic to iodine; contains vitamin K and may reduce the effects of anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin.

Side effects of Chlorella

At the recommended dose there are no reported side effects of chlorella, but the excess may cause diarrhea, itching and rash on the skin.

If you are taking Chlorella powder and other chlorella supplements be aware that may can cause side effects including: sensitivity to sunlight, acne or eczema in skin, fatigue and headaches or vertigo.

Most of these side effects and symptoms are typical to appear when a person is participating in any detoxification program. If these symptoms persists and its being uncomfortable it’s a sign that the dose must be reduced.

What are the recommended daily doses of Chlorella?

You can use up to 10 gr daily. (1 dessert spoon = ± 4 grams)
Chlorella is used in the form of food supplement tablets and should be consumed between 6 to 10 g per day, distributed during the day.

Maintenance dose: 4gr per day (1 dessert spoon = ± 4 grams)
Dose for treatment of removal of heavy metals: For 3 to 6 months 5gr to 10gr per day.

How to use Chlorella in your daily life?

Chlorella powder has a mild taste similar to green tea, making it the perfect complement to a variety of foods and beverages. Only one to two teaspoons will make a difference. The flavor blends well in smoothies, juices and other liquids. Although the taste is almost imperceptible, you will see your drinks to have a beautiful green color and you will feel the benefits of the powerful nutrients of chlorella. Gives detoxification powers to your favorite guacamole recipe (made from avocado) or salad dressing by adding a spoonful of powder. Be creative by adding biological chlorella powder to other foods such as a pasta dish with pesto chlorella sauce and more.

Other ways to use Chlorella: Add juice of 1 Lemon, 1 teaspoon of Chlorella and 1 cup of warm water and mix. It is preferable to be drunk upon waking. Taking with water, juice or food may be taken at any time, before, during or at meal intervals. Add to your smoothies, juices, vegetable drinks, soups, salads, dishes or raw recipes, green sauces, vegetable cream or any recipe. If adding to cooked dishes, do so after it is tempered.

Where to buy and how to choose the best Chlorella?

You can find chlorella as powder, tablet or liquid form at your local health store or online shop.
When purchasing a chlorella supplement make sure to buy "cracked cell wall chlorella” because they are well absorbed by the body. You may also be interested in finding a good brand that is100% organic and low-temperature-extracted. Follow the Chlorella reviews online to help you decide on the best product.
Below I may suggest some online websites for different countries:
For Spain and Europe I recommend Drasanvi Company:

For USA, I recommend the following website:

For Canada I recommend the following website:

For UK I recommend the following website:

For Australia I recommend the following website:

Posted by Dr. João Carrilho

Dr. João Carrilho
Doctor in Traditional Chinese Medicine by Southwest Medical University, China.
Licensed Acupuncturist (N.0500096) and Phytotherapist (N.0400028) by the Portuguese Health Ministry.
Post-Graduated in Health Sciences at Oporto University, Portugal

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